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For an average street fair, Fluff Fest was fine. There were food vendors, carnival games, moonbounces, and an excited crowd of people: an all around recipe for a good time. But let’s be real: for all the hype surrounding the event, it was a disappointment. The occasional fluff flag and single fluffer-nutter stand does not a proper whipped marshmallow celebration make. Where was the fluff keg? The fluff dunk tank? The fluff bazookas to spray the crowd? The “What the fluff?” slogan was fun and all, but it would have been better written out in actual fluff on a giant graham cracker in the middle of the street. I can’t pretend that this festival was fluffy enough.

The struggle continued with Fluff Fest’s steampunk theme: a science fiction subgenre that crosses punk style and industrialized medieval dress. A handful of individuals sported studded leather vests, six-inch platform boots, and bedazzled corsets, but overall this was another facet of Fluff Fest that failed to live up to expectation. I think the most steampunk thing I saw all day was the broken radiator graveyard on the sidewalk, adjacent entrance. There was the occasional dog collar worn as a necklace and one girl wore a clunky jetpack as a fashion statement, but just because it’s weird doesn’t make it steampunk.

Federator N°1, an afro-dance jazz band, was the best part of Fluff Fest. Their performance featured a compilation of jazz, funk, and afrobeat. Two female afro-dancers accompanied the band on stage, inspiring some of the most intense “dad dancing” in the crowd I have ever witnessed. This crew of middle age men stole the show; perhaps they were riding a serious sugar wave from eating too much Fluff and their only option was to dance it off. But despite how entertaining this performance was, I failed to see its connection to Fluff Fest.

There were some attempts to have more fluff related performances. For instance, the Flufferettes, a female chorus line, did a fan dance for the crowd before Federator N°1 played. The Colonel of Fluff introduced the group himself; his outfit featured shoulder pads made of fluff container caps. There were also a few event volunteers wandering the area in victorian style, fluff themed costumes, taking pictures with folks in the crowd.

The main problem with Fluff Fest was the lack of true fluffery. Even the children’s carnival games, supposedly fluff-related, were just weak. No one can convince me that a station where kids stick dried spaghetti into SOLID marshmallows qualifies as adequate fluff fun. The other main attraction in the game area was spraying water at empty fluff containers, AKA no fluff was included in the game, trying to knock them over.

The steampunk theme tried to take form in Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, a gypsy steampunk group that came to Boston for the occasion; it couldn’t work because the band members were the only ones in costume. The festival was built up as an afternoon solely dedicated to the magnificent existence of fluff. Adding steampunk as an additional theme was useless and distracting. In the future, Fluff Fest needs to pour all of its energy into the only theme that matters: whipped marshmallow in a jar.

[Photo Credit: Donald Rock]

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